To Sentinel 1/26/05 (unpublished)
Today’s editorial calling for simplification of the tax code inspires this modest proposal. Basic principles: public services & civilized amenities are expensive but indispensable; privatized services are less cost-efficient & less accountable than well-run public services (compare your HMO with the VA); fiscal responsibility means "pay as you go."
Replace sales & property taxes with a single truly progressive tax on individual and corporate incomes from any source (say, 5% on the lowest up to 50% on the highest), making everyone a stakeholder. Allow no loopholes or exceptions, with deductions for dependents and home purchase only.
Assign half of revenues to the federal government; one quarter to state government, and one quarter to county & local government. Twenty per cent of revenues at all levels are committed to debt payment for the duration.
Health, education, social security, environmental protection and law enforcement are understood to be public responsibilities, receiving highest priority in the allocation of public funds. Corporate subsidies & war-making, understood as inimical to the public interest, receive the lowest priority.
Further borrowing is allowable only to finance infrastructure (schools, highways) that will increase future revenues. This year's expenditures may not exceed last year's revenues.